Compliance Certification vs Attestation

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The Compliance Certification vs Attestation article talks about the difference between the two. 

What is an attestation?

An attestation is a review that involves comparing data and evidence to a control or process and determining whether it is appropriate or adequate. Sometimes, the term “auditing” is used to refer to the review process. In any case, the output of an attestation examination is an attestation report.

The individual auditors provide an opinion on the organization’s internal controls in their attestation report. It is not a pass-or-fail verdict but rather a favourable or unfavourable opinion from the auditors on the state of your compliance program.

Only CPA firms can issue the Attestation reports.

Examples of attestation

SOC 1, SOC 2, MD&A, etc.

What is a certification?

Certification is a qualification that is recognized by an accredited body. The qualification comes as a result of an audit or assessment done by an auditor. The organization receives an audit report as well as an official certification. The distinction between an attestation and a certification is that the certification is provided on top of the audit report and can only be provided by accredited certification bodies.

Example of certification

ISO 27001, CMMC, PCI-DSS, GDPR, etc.


Both attestation and certification go through the same audit review process. In an attestation audit, the outcome is the auditor’s opinion in an audit report, and a certification audit is a certification provided in addition to the audit report by an accredited body.


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